Since the “Back to Sleep” campaigns started, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or cot death has dropped by nearly two thirds. Our advice is to lay newborns on their backs to sleep. Plagiocephaly can be treated, SIDS can’t.
Babies sleeping on their backs are more prone to head misshaping, so move the baby often. Do not always use the same position.
How should I lay down my baby?
If you get up at night to check your baby, place him or her as follows:
- 1/3 of the time on their back
- 1/3 of the time on their right side
- 1/3 towards the left
If your child sleeps well all night:
- Place the baby on their back or on one side
- When you go to bed, change your baby’s position for the rest of the night
- During daytime naps, calculate the total time your baby usually sleeps and divide by 3 and this is the amount of time your child should spend in each of the three positions
Our advice is to put soft supports (towel, pillow,etc) under the bottom sheet to hold the baby’s head in position.
If your child spends much time in a carrycot or other, try to follow the same guidelines.
All newborns should be put down to sleep on their backs with body turned alternately from one side to the other, with a preference for the supine (back) position.
Alternating sides is a good way of preventing positional plagiocephaly as well as reducing the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Warning: the relative risk of SIDS is 2.2 times higher with the child lying compared to the supine position.
While your baby is awake or feels like playing, we recommend Tummy Time, as long as you keep an eye on him or her. This position aids both development of the neck muscles and movement in general. This position should not be used if the baby is asleep, but while he or she is fully awake there is no danger of SIDS.
If plagiocephaly appears
On diagnosis of plagiocephaly, postural changes are especially important, alternating between activity time face down and rest time or sleeping with the more flattened side of the head up, avoiding pressure. Holding the child in your arms may not be especially comfortable, but is always positive. Adequate neck exercising is just as important, with or without the presence of a physiotherapist.
At 3-4 months of age, depending on the severity of the condition, the use of an orthopedic band may be deemed necessary. This treatment has most effect in the period between 3-4 and 12 months of age. Older babies do not respond very well to the treatment and at 2 years or more, we may have to resort to surgery.
The second way we can avoid positional deformities.
Check out the examples in the TUMMY TIME guide.